Can you really be poor if you own a flat-screen TV … or two? Depends on whom you ask.

With income inequality at the center of the national political debate this year, it should be no surprise that conservatives and liberals are coming down on opposite sides of the tracks.

Conservatives point to spending patterns, saying consumption is a better indicator of living standards than income. Using that metric, the nation’s poor are living better than they have been in decades, enjoying many of the amenities that the middle class have.

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